Quote of the Day: CS Lewis on Church Music

As an active participant in the music ministry at Harmony Church, it makes sense to every now and then consider what you are actually doing. This urge became all the more prevalent when I came across some guidelines for music in church of one of the local churches. Here in Christchurch. At the same time I saw it as a good opportunity to actually dig a bit deeper in the subject matter of music and Christianity and some of my findings and thoughts will be posted here in other posts to come.

In the past days, fed by several disturbing documents on what is and what is not to be considered “good” Christian music; whom are we to judge in any event, (I found this quote from C.S. Lewis. The intention and not what some make out to be the Biblical Guidelines (see f.i. the Dial the Truth Ministries).

This quote by C.S. Lewis however said more than all the long tracts together.

source photo: http://www.covenanteyes.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2009/04/cs-lewis.jpg

It seems to me that we must define rather carefully the way, or ways, in which music can glorify God. There is … a sense in which all natural agents, even inanimate ones, glorify God continually by revealing the powers He has given them. And in that sense we, as natural agents, do the same. On that level our wicked actions, in so far as they exhibit our skill and strength, may be said to glorify Good, as well as our good actions. An excellently performed piece of music, as natural operation which reveals in a very high degree the peculiar powers given to man, will thus always glorify God whatever the intention of the performers may be. But that is a kind of glorifying which we share with the ‘dragons and great deeps’, with the ‘frost and snows’. What is looked for in us, as men, is another kind of glorifying, which depends on intention. How easy or how hard it may be for a whole choir to preserve that intention through all the discussions and decisions, all the corrections and the disappointments, all the temptations to pride, rivalry and ambition, which precede the performance of a great work, I (naturally) do not know. But it is on the intention that all depends. When it succeeds, I think the performers are the most enviable of men; privileged while mortals to honor God like angels and, for a few golden moments, to see spirit and flesh, delight and labour, skill and worship, the natural and the supernatural, all fused into that unity they would have had before the Fall.

If this is a subject that interests you, or the Contemporary Christian Music “Debate” than come back for more posts on the very subject matter.

In the meantime I will do what I always did, knowing that my intentions as well as all those of all the other musos at Harmony are good. Looking forward to see you there Sunday 10 am.

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Dead Sea Scrolls Online

I don’t know about you but I recall having read to several of the translations available online of the Dead Sea Scrolls. I also recall seeing the pictures and wondering how fantastic it would be for those not nearby to be able to access these scrolls for study.

How exciting it must be for scholars and others to read the following news.

Source: Reuters

Dead Sea Scrolls Going Digital on Internet

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(Photo: Sections of the Dead Sea scrolls at the Israel Museum in Jerusalem, May 14, 2008/Baz Ratner)

Scholars and anyone with an Internet connection will be able to take a new look into the Biblical past through an online archive of high-resolution images of the 2,000-year-old Dead Sea Scrolls.

Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA), the custodian of the scrolls that shed light on the life of Jews and early Christians at the time of Jesus, said on Tuesday it was collaborating with Google’s research and development center in Israel to upload digitized images of the entire collection.

Advanced imaging technology will be installed in the IAA’s laboratories early next year and high-resolution images of each of the scrolls’ 30,000 fragments will be freely accessible on the Internet. The IAA conducted a pilot imaging project in 2008.

“The images will be equal in quality to the actual physical viewing of the scrolls, thus eliminating the need for re-exposure of the Scrolls and allowing their preservation for future generations,”the Authority said in a statement.

It said that the new technology would help to expose writing that has faded over the centuries and promote further research into one of the most important archaeological finds of the 20th century.

The scrolls, most of them on parchment, are the oldest copies of the Hebrew Bible and include secular text dating from the third century BC to the first century AD. For many years after Bedouin shepherds first came upon the scrolls in caves near the Dead Sea in 1947, only a small number of scholars were allowed to view the fragments.  But access has since been widened and they were published in their entirety nine years ago. A few large pieces of scroll are on permanent display at the Israel Museum in Jerusalem.

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(Photo: A preservationist works on a fragment of the Dead Sea Scrolls in a laboratory in the Israel Museum in Jerusalem October 18, 2010/Baz Ratner)

See also our earlier posts on the Dead Sea Scrolls –

Israel rejects Jordanian bid to claim Dead Sea Scrolls

Sorting through a digital history